Understanding Agent Systems

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Springer Science & Business Media, 2004 - Computers - 240 pages
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This book helps to organise the diverse landscape of agent-based systems by applying formal methods to provide a defining and encompassing agent framework. The Z specification language is used to provide an accessible and unified formal account of agent systems and inter-agent relationships. In particular, the framework precisely and unambiguously provides meanings for common concepts and terms for agent systems, enables alternative agent models and architectures to be described within it, and provides a foundation for subsequent development of increasingly more refined agent concepts. It describes agents, the relationships between them and the requisite capabilities for effective functioning in multi-agent systems, and is applied in different case studies. In the second edition the authors have revised and updated the existing chapters of the book to respond to advice from readers of the first edition, to add references to recent work in agent systems, and generally to bring the content up to date. They have extended the introduction and conclusions chapters to include a better review of the field and the current state-of-the-art. This new edition features chapters on agent interaction and norms, and outlines an implementation framework. The book will appeal equally to researchers, students and technologists interested in intelligent agents and multi-agent systems.   Comments from experts in the field: An excellent book that lays out a clear conceptual framework for studying and analysing agent-based systems.                                                 Nick Jennings   Mark d'Inverno and Michael Luck have, over the last six or seven years, been at the forefront of European research in agent systems. This book poses some important foundational questions about agents and their interactions in multi-agent systems and answers them in a coherent and convincing way. It's an extremely valuable contribution to the field.                                                               Michael Georgeff   It is undoubtedly a clear and most comprehensive attempt to describe agent-based systems in a unified manner.                                                        Simon Parsons
  

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Contents

The Agent Landscape
1
12 Agents
3
122 Problems with Definition
5
13 MultiAgent Systems
6
14 Desiderata for a Conceptual View of Agents
7
15 A Formal Framework for Agent Definition and Development
8
152 Notation
9
153 Specification Structure Diagrams
10
Autonomous Interaction
127
62 Problems with Autonomous Interaction
128
622 Benevolence
129
626 Summary
130
631 Sociological Goal Generation
131
633 Prediction
133
635 Observation and Evaluation
134
636 Revision
136

The SMART Agent Framework
15
23 Entities
19
231 Entity State
20
232 Entity Operations
21
241 Object Behaviour
22
243 Object Operations
23
25 Agents
24
253 Agent Perception
26
254 Agent Action
27
256 Agent Operations
28
26 Autonomy
29
262 Autonomous Agent Specification
30
263 Autonomous Agent Perception
31
265 Autonomous Agent State
32
Tropistic Agents
33
273 Reformulating Action
34
274 A Discussion
35
29 Related Work
38
210 Summary
39
Agent Relationships
41
32 MultiAgent Systems
42
323 MultiAgent System Specification
43
33 Goal Generation
44
332 Goal Generation Specification
45
34 Goal Adoption
47
341 Goal Adoption by NeutralObjects
48
342 Goal Adoption by ServerAgents
50
343 Autonomous Goal Adoption
51
344 Autonomous Goal Destruction
52
35 Engagement
53
352 Direct Engagements in a MultiAgent System
55
354 Engagement Chains in a MultiAgent System
57
36 Cooperation
58
361 Cooperations in a MultiAgent System
59
362 Discussion and Example
60
37 The Agent Society
61
38 Agent Relationships Taxonomy
63
383 Indirect Engagement Relation
64
384 Generic Ownership Relation
65
386 Unique Ownership Relation
66
388 Generic Cooperation Relation
67
39 Summary
68
An Operational Analysis of Agent Relationships
71
42 Initial Concepts
72
43 Making Engagements
74
44 Breaking Engagements
79
45 Joining Cooperations
81
46 Leaving Cooperations
83
47 An Illustrative Example
86
48 Summary
91
Sociological Agents
93
52 Agent Store
94
Hysteretic Agents
98
KnowledgeBased Agents
99
53 Agent Models
101
532 Sociological Agents
102
533 Modelling the Motivations of Others
106
534 Modelling the Models of Others
108
54 Agent Plans
110
543 MultiAgent Plans
112
544 MultiAgent PlanAgents
116
545 Sociological PlanAgents
117
546 An Illustrative Example
120
547 Modelling the Plans of Others
124
The Contract Net as a Goal Directed System
139
73 Contract Net Components
141
733 Monitor Agents
142
74 Contract Net Relationships
143
75 Contract Net State
146
753 System State
147
762 Making Task Announcements
148
763 Making Bids
149
764 Awarding Contracts
150
765 Terminating Contracts
151
77 Summary
152
Computational Architecture for BDI Agents
155
83 Types
156
831 Beliefs
157
833 Plans
158
834 Intentions
159
85 AgentSpeakL Agent Operation
160
86 Summary
165
Evaluating Social Dependence Networks
167
921 Action and Resource Autonomy
169
932 SDN in SMART
170
933 Formalising External Descriptions
172
94 Action and Resource Autonomy
173
95 Dependence Relations
175
96 Dependence Situations
178
97 Summary
180
Normative Agents
183
102 Norms
184
1021 Obligations and Prohibitions
185
1022 Social Commitments
186
103 Chains of Norms
187
1032 Interlocking Norms
188
104 Normative Agents
189
1041 Normative MultiAgent Systems
190
1042 Normative Roles
191
105 Norm Dynamics
192
1052 Norm States
193
106 Norm Compliance
195
1062 Normative Agent State
196
1063 The Norm Compliance Process
197
107 Conclusions
198
actSMART Building a SMART System
201
112 An Example
202
113 actSMART Agent Implementation
203
1132 Java for Agent Systems
204
1134 extensible Markup Language
205
114 Agent construction model for actSMART
206
115 Object and Agent Creation in actSMART
207
1152 Autonomous Agents
208
1153 Example architecture
209
1154 Engaging NeutralObjects
210
116 Conclusions
211
Conclusions
213
1213 Agent Architectures
214
1221 Generality
215
123 Concluding Remarks
216
The Z Specification Language
219
A2 Generic Z Definitions
222
A22 Relations
223
A23 Functions
224
A24 Sequences
225
References
227
Index
237
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

 

Mark dâInverno has been working in the field of agent-based systems for well over 10 years and is currently Professor of Computer Science in the Cavendish School of Computer Science at the University of Westminster. He gained a BA in Mathematics in 1986 and an MSc in Computation in 1988 both from Oxford University, and in 1998 was awarded a PhD from University College London. He has published numerous papers in the area and is an expert in formal sepcification of agent systems. Prof dâInverno is a founder of the UKMAS workshops, has chaired two UKMAS wortkshops and is a member of the UKMAS Steering Committee. He sits on several conference and workshop programme committees.

Michael Luck is a Senior Lecturer in the Intelligence, Agents and Multimedia Group in the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, UK. He has worked in the field of agent technology and multi-agent systems for over ten years, having previously led the Agent-Based Systems Group at the University of Warwick for seven years, and having gained his PhD from University College London in 1993 for work on agent-based discovery. Dr Luck is a co-founder of the UK Special Interest Group on Multi-Agent Systems, and currently Chair of the UKMAS Steering Committee. He is a member of the Advisory Boards of FIPA (the agent standards body), MAAMAW (the European agent conference) and CEEMAS (the Central and Eastern European agent conference). He has served on numerous programme committees for agent conferences and workshops, and has organised and chaired several international conferences in the area of agents, including those for industry. Dr Luck has contributed to policy making forums for national and European agencies, has reviewed proposals for many national and international funding agencies, and has published extensively in this area (with over 75 papers and 5 books). Since 2000, he has been Director of AgentLink, the European Network of Excellence for Agent-Based Computing.

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